The date October 20, 1977, is a date that will live in rock 'n roll infamy.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash

This was the date of the tragic plane crash that took the lives of six people, including members of the legendary southern rock group, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, and the two pilots Walter McCreary and John Gray, would lose their lives. The rest of the band and passengers would miraculously survive the crash, which occurred near Gillsburg, Mississippi. The cause for the crash was fuel exhaustion and pilot error. It was totally avoidable.

The band had just started their first tour supporting the release of the heavily popular 'Street Survivors' album. It included such hits as "That Smell" and "What's Your Name?"

Ironically enough, this new tour was named the 'Tour of the Survivors' and was just four shows old when the plane crashed that fateful night. Ten years went by before the surviving bandmates and new members would get together and go on an official tour.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Touring in 1977

It was an extremely busy start to 1977 for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band had actually gone on a promotional tour titled 'Street Survivors' before the album with the same name was released. This included shows across the country, as well as in Europe and Japan.

This tour included a June 14 concert at the then-named Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland. Skynyrd clearly appreciated the Maine faithful. This was the band's third trip the Pine Tree State in as many years.

Sadly, the concert crowd didn't know it would be their last time seeing the Ronnie-led version of the band. The plane crash would occur just a few months later. The final song they would see performed in Maine was "Free Bird."

Lynyrd Skynyrd After the Crash

It wouldn't be until 1988 that Lynyrd Skynyrd returned to Maine. However, since then the band has made 11 more trips, including as recently as 2022 in Bangor. One would imagine the band will always look at Maine as a potential tour landing spot.

Here's to many more years of Lynyrd Skynyrd entertaining the masses. And may we never forget the ones that were sadly lost 46 years ago.

My baby's gone with wind.

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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff

30 Musical Acts That Have Played The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach, Maine

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